Microsoft has announced it has completed development on the latest version of its SQL database software package, SQL Server 2014, with the software set to be released on April 1.
SQL databases are commonly used to store information as part of the back-end of many popular content management systems, along with a range of other web applications.
Key features of the new release include the use of in-memory processing, where an entire database or column is loaded into a server’s RAM, instead of the data being cached off a hard disk as database queries come in.
In a statement, Microsoft Data Platform Group corporate vice president Quentin Clark says the move is part of a broader refocus on getting the most efficient performance from hardware.
“Several years back, we began exploring the changing hardware landscape – memory being one of the key areas of focus. Today, our in-memory technology spans the core workloads in the data platform: business intelligence as part of Analysis Services, Excel and Power BI for Office 365; complex event processing with StreamInsight; in-memory column store in SQL Server and our data warehousing product; and now with SQL Server 2014 – in-memory transaction processing.”
A second major upgrade has been increased integration between SQL Server and Microsoft’s Azure cloud hosting service.
The increased integration means SQL Server 2014 will be available on virtual machines running in Azure, while the increased integration will also make it easier to do real-time server backups to Azure.
According to Clark, the improved hybrid capabilities will allow for greater flexibility in how businesses deploy SQL Server 2014.
“The other key area of investment for SQL Server 2014 has been hybrid features that span the cloud and on-premises, giving customers a choice in how they deploy database solutions.
“Customers can easily and securely backup and recover on-premises SQL Server databases using Windows Azure. SQL Server 2014’s AlwaysOn technology was not just improved for this release, it was built to enrol Windows Azure virtual machines running SQL Server into a customers’ disaster recovery solution.
“SQL Server 2014 will be available in a Windows Azure virtual machine image as part of general availability on April 1.
The company also announced the availability of Apache Hadoop 2.2 support for its Azure cloud customers.
Hadoop is an open-source software framework that allows for the storage and large-scale processing of data-sets on clusters of commodity hardware.
Clark says the deployment will also allow for more flexible deployment options for Azure customers.
“Windows Azure and SQL Server provide a continuum of capability and flexibility in deployment options for our customers – on-premises and in the cloud. Windows Azure also supports an important data workload – Windows Azure HDInsight, our Apache Hadoop-based solution in the cloud.
“Today, we’re announcing the general availability of Hadoop 2.2 support in Windows Azure HDInsight, which has been updated to take full advantage of the latest Hadoop 2.2 platform, including support for YARN and Stinger Phase 2.”